How to Safely and Securely Enclose Your Equines
As a horse owner, you want to give your animals the very best. Your horses deserve great food, plenty of space to run, and the security that comes with a quality fence. But these days, finding a horse fence can be overwhelming. There are so many different materials and styles, how do you know which one is best for your horse?
Wire horse fencing is a popular choice for many reasons, and there are several ways to customize it for your specific property. With a “sight board” attached to the top of the fence line, and properly-spaced wires, this form of enclosure becomes even safer for your equines.
Here’s what you need to know when choosing the best fencing for your horses. No matter whether you have experience with equine facility fencing or not, never be afraid to enlist expert advice in your area.
Choosing Horse Fencing
When you select a fencing style for your horses’ paddock, arena, or pasture, there are several things you need to consider.
Horse fences serve two main purposes: to keep horses in the enclosure and to keep other critters out. In your case, which is the primary concern? Do you have a skittish horse that could run off? Or, are you worried about other animals getting in and bothering the horses?
Personality of Horses
Some horses require sturdier fences than others. Is your horse prone to escaping? Does he scare easily — and when spooked, is he likely to charge the fence? Is he a jumper? All these aspects of your horse’s personality will shape the decisions you make when choosing a fence.
One major consideration for your fencing project is the overall cost. How much are you willing to spend to get a high-quality fence? It’s wise to figure out your budget early in the planning process, as that will help you narrow down materials right away.
Size of Enclosure
Another factor that plays into your total cost is the overall size of your enclosure. The larger your fenced-in space, unsurprisingly, the more fencing you’ll need — and that can make even the most inexpensive materials add up quickly. Make sure you know how much fencing you’ll need before you commit to any materials.
In a perfect world, your horse fence will stand strong and sturdy for many, many years. But if you want that to happen, you need a fence that can withstand the elements, from soggy and muddy conditions to months of dry heat. Consider how your environment changes with the season and make sure your fence is prepared to stand through it all.
Who is going to install this fence? Will you do it yourself, or will you hire a professional? The answer here is up to you, but it’s important to note that a horse fence is both a big investment in your property and an important part of caring for your horses. Whatever you do, make sure that your fence is in good condition and ready to be installed.
Types of Fences
Once you determine how much fence you need, what you’re willing to spend, and the specific features you need to keep your horses safe, it’s time to look at materials. Here are some of the most common materials used in horse fencing.
The wooden post and rail fence is probably what most people think of when they imagine a horse fence. This old standard is great aesthetically, and it can certainly stand up against the elements (with regular upkeep). Wooden fences are not ideal, however, for horses that spook easily, as a collision with a rail could lead to a broken leg.
Wire fencing is also highly popular for horse enclosures. High tensile wires, smooth wires, and woven wire mesh are all great choices for horses! The largest drawback to wire fencing is that the fence line can sometimes be hard to see — for both horses and humans. Regardless, this is easy to fix by adding a sight board to the top of the fence line. This also prevents your horse from “necking down” the fence.
Electric fencing can be an effective deterrent for horses who like to charge the fence AND horses who like to chew on the fence line. Most vets agree that the charge from an electric fence isn’t enough to do any damage, but it is unpleasant enough to be a great physical and psychological barrier.
While barbed wire fencing can be appropriate for some livestock, this is NOT a good choice for horses. This fencing can often cause deep cuts in a horse’s leg, neck, or other body parts, often resulting in stitches and high vet bills.
Why Wire Fencing is a Great Choice
Wire fencing is one of the top choices for horse fencing today. There are many reasons this fencing material has come out on top, including the following:
- Cost: wire fencing is more affordable than other options (particularly wood, which has a high initial cost).
- Durability: wire fencing tends to be more durable than other fencing materials. The galvanized metal used in the woven wire resists corrosion and rusting, while the flexibility in the wires makes it less likely to break if a horse runs into it.
- Maintenance: when you don’t have to worry about weather damage and wear, your fence maintenance decreases significantly. This means that horse owners with wire fencing don’t have to spend as much time on fence upkeep, so they can focus on other, more important, tasks — like riding!
- Portability: wire fencing can be much easier to take down and move than other fencing types. This makes it a great option if you’re setting up a temporary enclosure, or even if you’re not certain whether or not you’ll be moving paddock areas.
- Visibility: as we mentioned earlier, the only real mark against wire fencing is limited visibility. There are, however, many quick and easy options that can fix this problem — and even make your wire fence MORE visible than its counterparts.
Types of Wire Fencing
If you decide to use wire fencing for your horse enclosure, you might discover that “wire” was only the first in a series of choices.
There are many forms of wire fencing, and they all have different benefits for different types of horses.
The two types of wire fencing we recommend are v-mesh wire and the no-climb fence.
- V-mesh wire fencing has a springy texture that is strong enough to withstand a collision, and flexible enough to prevent injury for the animals.
- No-climb wire fencing is ideal for any “escape artist” horse, as the 2″x4″ weave makes scaling the fence nearly impossible.
Both styles feature a tight mesh pattern that also protects your horse from unwanted predators.
We all know that a fence is only effective if it is installed properly. This is why it’s so important to carefully set up your horse fence.
Here are a few tips to ensure a successful installation:
- Space your posts properly. Fence posts should be 8-12 feet apart and about 18-24 inches below ground.
Install your fence posts on the correct side. The fence posts should always be on the outside (away from the animals) to give the fence greater support should a horse lean on it. This also helps prevent your horses from getting splinters from your posts.
- Don’t be afraid to ask a pro. Your horse fencing is a big deal and a big investment; if you don’t feel comfortable installing the fence yourself, there’s no shame in hiring someone who can give you and your animals the best possible fencing.
- Use good quality wire fencing: Visit Red Brand today to see how our fencing options can help you treat your horses to a safe, secure, and comfortable enclosure.
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